Standby Generators

Old Aug 4th 2021, 7:03 pm
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Default Standby Generators

I was wondering if anyone here had one of these bits of equipment, and in practice how noisy they were, as we were thinking of getting one. We live in a suburban area and would use it as backup power to the house, and for a GMRS radio repeater (housed in our shed) which the City CERT uses for communication.

The noise is a concern as we have a neighbor who calls the police to complain about the noise from another neighbors truck engine when he is tinkering with it. Personally I would buy the loudest one I could find to annoy the b.....lady, but Mrs L says to play nice. The specs give a decibel reading of 72, on average, which is all well and good but in reality how loud is that.

Anyone with personal experiences with standby generators?
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Old Aug 4th 2021, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

A portable generator or a permanently installed automatic standby generator? I had a Kohler natural gas standby generator installed a few years ago and regret buying it to be honest - while it's great to have power during an outage it is very loud when running despite what the adverts claim and it broke down just over a year after installation. Thankfully I had purchased the extended parts and labor warranty because it took three months of visits and replacing every part imaginable before the dealer threw in the towel and Kohler authorized a complete replacement unit.

A few times we've lost power in the middle of the night and the generator starting up wakes me up.

I wish I had gone with Tesla Powerwall instead.
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Old Aug 4th 2021, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
I was wondering if anyone here had one of these bits of equipment, and in practice how noisy they were, as we were thinking of getting one. We live in a suburban area and would use it as backup power to the house, and for a GMRS radio repeater (housed in our shed) which the City CERT uses for communication.

The noise is a concern as we have a neighbor who calls the police to complain about the noise from another neighbors truck engine when he is tinkering with it. Personally I would buy the loudest one I could find to annoy the b.....lady, but Mrs L says to play nice. The specs give a decibel reading of 72, on average, which is all well and good but in reality how loud is that.

Anyone with personal experiences with standby generators?
I have a 10,000kw portable tri-fule. I have an outlet to connect it to near the gas meter, and can connect it to a nat gas quick connect. I have a “interlock” on my main panel, that prevents back feeding to the grid. The wife would not allow me to get a Glock, so I have a steel motorbike securing ring attached to the foundation to chain it to. We only run it 7am to 11pm when the powers out because of noise. Last time I gave the neighbor a 20amp feed to avoid noise complaints. The whole setup including electrician and plumber for the gas work was about $2k. So way cheaper than a whole house setup. The one thing I had to add was a trickle charger to keep the battery charged to start it. Runs everything including the AC.
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Old Aug 4th 2021, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

A portable one, duel fuel so as to be able to use propane. Unfortunately where the natural gas comes into the house would leave the generator being easily accessible from the street, or having to dig a trench in the driveway to lay a pipe. We would connect to the house via a professionally installed manual transfer switch. The more I research this the more of a hassle it seems to be. Starting to think a smaller inverter generator, which would just run the fridge and freezers, with a transfer switch is the way to go.
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Old Aug 4th 2021, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
A portable one, duel fuel so as to be able to use propane. Unfortunately where the natural gas comes into the house would leave the generator being easily accessible from the street, or having to dig a trench in the driveway to lay a pipe. We would connect to the house via a professionally installed manual transfer switch. The more I research this the more of a hassle it seems to be. Starting to think a smaller inverter generator, which would just run the fridge and freezers, with a transfer switch is the way to go.
You can run a gas line to other locations, but the close to the meter the better. The wiring to run 240v is alos not cheap, ours is very "beefy". I am now also figuring out what I plan to do for my lake house, that has a well pump, so the 120v unit I have there won't work to get water. AS the other poster mentioned, I think I will look to go solar with a power wall or 2. The entire property has an exposed south facing roof so it will do well on solar, but I ned to find an option that does not impact the curb appeal too much as it is also STR property.

I don't like the transfer switch, that makes you pre-select what circuits you are able to run, an interlock allows you to use any circuit, you just have to be more careful not to try and start/run to anything's together.

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Old Aug 5th 2021, 5:34 am
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by tht View Post

I don't like the transfer switch, that makes you pre-select what circuits you are able to run, an interlock allows you to use any circuit, you just have to be more careful not to try and start/run to anything's together.
Appreciate that information. Something else to consider.
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Old Aug 5th 2021, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

We have a transfer switch but it switches the power from mains to the generator for the whole house / farm.
I would personally opt for a unit than can run the whole house.
At the end of the day it depends on how often and for how long you loose power.
We have had around 5 outages this year the longest outage was around 10 days due to Hurricane Isobel.

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Old Aug 5th 2021, 5:11 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

We've got a Generac one at work for keeping the servers on during outages. It is noticeably noisier than the AC unit so I'd be wary about having one at home, especially as it would be the only thing making noise during an outage. It's also broken down and needed costly repairs twice in the 7 years we've had it so no sure how long it will actually last. If it were my money I'd be more inclined to look at something similar to a Tesla Powerwall.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 12:08 am
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Like previously mentioned it all depends on how often and how long you lose power. I bought a interlock and poured a small pad plus ran a conduit for wires but in the end abandoned the whole thing due to having a stable electrical supplier with rare and short outages. I like to keep things simple and you could consider a small Honda gas generator (known for quietness) and some heavy extension cords. Buy one just big enough to run your freezer, fridge and some lights and TV. By using heavy extension cords you could place generator anywhere outside safe from exhaust fumes. If your panel has the space for a double breaker using a lockout would be more convenient and not cost that much but would still consider same small size generator.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Re: Tesla Powerwall, not really doing the same job as a backup generator. Batteries are horribly inefficient at energy storage (compared to hydrocarbons) and you can't pour in more sunshine to keep you going during a 10 day hurricane outage. But if you only expect short outages and hook it up to solar it's cleaner and can save you money long term. For your bunker you might want both
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Very much appreciate all the comments and input. A purchase has been made based on the input from y'all which was most helpful.

Originally Posted by ddsrph View Post
Like previously mentioned it all depends on how often and how long you lose power. I bought a interlock and poured a small pad plus ran a conduit for wires but in the end abandoned the whole thing due to having a stable electrical supplier with rare and short outages. I like to keep things simple and you could consider a small Honda gas generator (known for quietness) and some heavy extension cords. Buy one just big enough to run your freezer, fridge and some lights and TV. By using heavy extension cords you could place generator anywhere outside safe from exhaust fumes. If your panel has the space for a double breaker using a lockout would be more convenient and not cost that much but would still consider same small size generator.
I had slowly been coming to the same conclusion, before I posted here. The worst outage in our area in 15 years was last year, when power was out for a week due to an ice storm. At the start of that the only people who could keep their generators running were those who had a large stock of fuel. The outage was very wide spread and gas stations had no power to pump. The normal outage for us is 2 hours when a transformer blows locally, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, or a day or two when a wind storm brings down trees.

tht's comment about not running a generator after 11pm because of noise, and having to bribe neighbors not to complain was most helpful. I can understand why ottotheboar suggested one big enough to run the whole house, and if we suffered the same level of outages as they do, it would be the way to go. The biggest concerns I had were noise preventing us from using it, and something easy so Mrs L could get it running if need be, plus provide enough power to be useful.

We decided on a iGen4500DF. It will run the fridge/freezer and the freezer in the garage and have about 40% capacity left for lights, TV and other items we can switch in and out as needed. It is an inverter so quieter and is rated for sensitive electronics, and duel fuel so we can keep a couple of propane cylinders and no have to worry about gasoline going off. We can always start it on propane and then buy fresh gas for the high power and longer running. Plus if we find it isn't big enough we can buy another one and run them in parallel. It is also about 120lbs lighter than one big enough for the whole house, and therefore easy to store in the garage and pull out when needed. Cooking, hot water and downstairs fire are all gas, so we only need to cover downstairs power and lights in an emergency.

Will research getting a transfer switch or interlock. The fridge/freezer in the kitchen is difficult to move out and get behind to unplug and connect to extension cables. Mrs L is not built for getting into tight spaces if she was on her own.

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Old Aug 6th 2021, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
Very much appreciate all the comments and input. A purchase has been made based on the input from y'all which was most helpful.



I had slowly been coming to the same conclusion, before I posted here. The worst outage in our area in 15 years was last year, when power was out for a week due to an ice storm. At the start of that the only people who could keep their generators running were those who had a large stock of fuel. The outage was very wide spread and gas stations had no power to pump. The normal outage for us is 2 hours when a transformer blows locally, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, or a day or two when a wind storm brings down trees.

tht's comment about not running a generator after 11pm because of noise, and having to bribe neighbors not to complain was most helpful. I can understand why ottotheboar suggested one big enough to run the whole house, and if we suffered the same level of outages as they do, it would be the way to go. The biggest concerns I had were noise preventing us from using it, and something easy so Mrs L could get it running if need be, plus provide enough power to be useful.

We decided on a iGen4500DF. It will run the fridge/freezer and the freezer in the garage and have about 40% capacity left for lights, TV and other items we can switch in and out as needed. It is an inverter so quieter and is rated for sensitive electronics, and duel fuel so we can keep a couple of propane cylinders and no have to worry about gasoline going off. We can always start it on propane and then buy fresh gas for the high power and longer running. Plus if we find it isn't big enough we can buy another one and run them in parallel. It is also about 120lbs lighter than one big enough for the whole house, and therefore easy to store in the garage and pull out when needed. Cooking, hot water and downstairs fire are all gas, so we only need to cover downstairs power and lights in an emergency.

Will research getting a transfer switch or interlock. The fridge/freezer in the kitchen is difficult to move out and get behind to unplug and connect to extension cables. Mrs L is not built for getting into tight spaces if she was on her own.
What Brand I’d your panel? I have always used Square D qo which makes a $50 dollar lockout device that can be installed in minutes. You of course need blank space for a double breaker. Other brands probably have similar items. Are you on a slab or crawl space or better yet basement? I would run a wire/cable to the interlock breaker with the female receptacle in a convenient location to hook generator to. Would be a very simple and cheap way to hook up.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by ddsrph View Post
What Brand I’d your panel? I have always used Square D qo which makes a $50 dollar lockout device that can be installed in minutes. You of course need blank space for a double breaker. Other brands probably have similar items. Are you on a slab or crawl space or better yet basement? I would run a wire/cable to the interlock breaker with the female receptacle in a convenient location to hook generator to. Would be a very simple and cheap way to hook up.
The panel is full, no spare space at all. Pity it's inside the garage on the outside wall so would have been easy with the hook up on the outside of the wall.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

Originally Posted by wtkp0u View Post
Re: Tesla Powerwall, not really doing the same job as a backup generator. Batteries are horribly inefficient at energy storage (compared to hydrocarbons) and you can't pour in more sunshine to keep you going during a 10 day hurricane outage. But if you only expect short outages and hook it up to solar it's cleaner and can save you money long term. For your bunker you might want both
I got solar panels about a year after the generator and it annoys me no end when we have an outage on a sunny day and the panels sit on the roof producing nothing while we burn natural gas to power the house. I wouldn't get Powerwall(s) with no solar but if I could have my time over again I would have spent the generator money on 2 Powerwalls instead.
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Old Aug 6th 2021, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Standby Generators

We have considered a free standing gas one but every year there is a rush on them when hurricanes are forecast and then after it's over people are trying to sell them because they usually aren't powerful enough to keep the house cool enough or all the fridges and freezers working!! Not smart enough to read what it says on the box!!!

Plus they are noisy and because of hurricane/floods gas stations are closed and no gas available. Then there are the people that just never run them intermittently between storms to keep them working ok then when they need them they won't run ( our neighbour cussing outside after 2017 disaster and quickly losing the smug grin on his face)

So not a fan here.
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